Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority helps us highlight Charlotte’s Black owned businesses.
Clayton Clark said he felt like something was missing in the Charlotte food scene. There weren’t any Jamaican options that felt authentic to the foods he had eaten back home on the island.
So he decided to change that.
In May 2022, Clark opened Fidel’s Kitchen, a carry-out restaurant inside Brookshire Commissary Kitchen at 4431 Brookshire Boulevard. serves authentic Jamaican cuisine for lunch, dinner and late-night meals. The name, he said, comes from his family nickname.
Clark said Fidel’s is an opportunity for him to teach people about Jamaica and Jamaican culture through authentic food.
“I’ve been cooking from a [young] age,” Clark said.
He said his family had an outdoor kitchen in Jamaica where he often cooked alongside his mother. There, he observed the way she prepared food and learned how to do things himself.
“Everything I do is from scratch,” he said. Clark told QCity Metro he avoids using overly pre-processed foods, blends his own seasonings and makes his own sauces in an effort to authentically recreate the experience of eating in Jamaica.
But he’s not afraid to put his own flair on Jamaican classics and offer items like oxtail cheese fries and jerk chicken cheese fries.
His newest concept is the oxtail patty, a spin on the classic Jamaican patty but stuffed with his popular oxtail recipe. Clark’s oxtail patties have become top sellers alongside oxtails, the jerk lamb loin and curry goat.
Fidel’s also offers vegetarian and vegan options.
More than a year later, Fidel’s is still growing its footprint within Charlotte.
And Clark is looking ahead. He told QCity Metro he wants to open a food truck so that he’s able to serve different parts of the city.
“I’m still in the growth period. Every day is a different experience; I learn something more and more each day,” he said. “It’s been my dream to own my own [restaurant]. I always told myself, I’m tired of building someone else’s dream and putting my dream aside.”
Fidel’s Kitchen is open Thursday through Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. for curbside pickup and is also available through DoorDash and UberEats.